MOTHER GOOSE FINALLY COOKED! Justice at long last for victims of one of Australia’s worst suspected paedophile rapists, Robert William Symonds

EXCLUSIVE: Having escaped justice for decades, the long-time suspected paedophile, Robert William Symonds, also known as ‘Mother Goose’, has finally been brought to account after being found guilty of child abuse charges by an Adelaide court. True Crime News Weekly publisher, Serkan Ozturk, reports.

He was given the nickname Mother Goose for his distinctive gait and the way that he walked as he moved around South Australia’s capital city. Some sections of the media meanwhile referred to him as “a prominent member of Adelaide’s 1980s gay scene”.

But having escaped justice for decades despite being linked for years to a violent and murderous gang rape cult, Robert William Symonds – who can now be revealed to be one of Australia’s most notorious paedophiles – will likely soon be walking straight to prison for punishment that will perhaps never be strenuous enough for the alleged criminal sins he has committed against young boys for years. Crimes which some of his victims say the 66-year-old former bookmaker only got away with due to possible corruption within both the SA Police and the State Government.

Late last month on Wednesday, February 28, Mr Symonds was finally found guilty on three counts of unlawful sexual intercourse over a number of incidents which took place between September 1994 and March 1995 in the Adelaide suburbs of Vale Park and Hackham. Mr Symonds has been a longterm Vale Park resident.

Speaking online to True Crime News Weekly, the man who brought the case against Mr Symonds said he did so on behalf of all his many reputed other victims.

‘I hope that my justice can also be justice for all of his other victims as well,” the survivor said a few hours after the guilty finding. 

“I just want everybody to know that this is for all of Adelaide.

“I just want all of his other victims to know what’s happened and this is their victory as well.”

Another of Mr Symonds’s alleged victims told True Crime News Weekly the guilty finding was a long time coming and many have paid a heavy price.

“I feel we have done our bit,” the alleged victim, now aged almost 50, said.

“As the person who was dragged through hell & back by SA Police to protect this filth, thank fuck someone was finally believed.”

‘Mother Goose’ seen outside court in 2011 (Image: ABC)

‘Mother Goose’ was initially charged almost ten years ago in 2009 with a multitude of child abuse offences. At the time, police had charged the then-57-year-old with 25 child sex offences, alleged to have involved six victims between 1983 and 1995. The charges included persistent sexual exploitation, gross indecency and unlawful sexual intercourse.

At his trial in 2011, it was suggested by Mr Symonds’ defence counsel that he had been set up with the allegations an invention by a key suspect in the notorious Family murders.

The Family is the name for a gang of up to nine men, who are thought to be possibly behind the abduction and rape of up to 200 boys and the murder of five people during a reign of abuse between 1973-83. Many of the victims are believed to have been young street kids who were drugged and then abused, with some being killed. Only one man, Bevan Spencer von Einem, has ever been charged with responsibility for some of the crimes, including the June 1983 murder of 15-year-old, Richard Kelvin, the son of a prominent newsreader of the time.

Mr Symonds’ lawyers suggested the allegations against him were part of some elaborate revenge plot because the bookmaker had been an informant to the police regarding the Family murders.

The Australian story on Mother Goose April 2008

The Advertiser story on Mother Goose June 2011

The Advertiser story on Mother Goose August 2011

In a 2008 article published in The Australian, ‘Mother Goose’ admitted he had been known to the police “from the time he began frequenting Adelaide’s Parklands beats 35 years ago, but as a source of information, not a sex abuser”.

Furthermore, according to the article: “He claimed to have known reputed Family killer Bevan Spencer von Einem, who is serving a life sentence for the 1983 murder of 15-year-old Richard Kelvin”.

OPINION: “Be proud you survived it”

When The Australian asked Mr Symonds why an alleged victim would persist in making false allegations about him, ‘Mother Goose’ is quoted as saying: “Somebody has probably put him up to it … I’ve got history … I’ve been threatened by Family members”.

Mr Symonds was eventually found not guilty in August 2011 at his first child abuse trial but only after Judge Peter Brebner suggested the Vale Park resident had been likely engaging in sexual activity with wards of the state in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Although I am highly suspicious that some sexual interaction did take place between the accused and the complainants, certain aspects of the evidence of the complainants precludes satisfaction beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.

Mr Symonds had come under the renewed attention of law enforcement a decade ago after being named in the landmark inquiry held by former Supreme Court judge Ted Mullighan into the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable young people while in state care in South Australia.

SA Police has told True Crime News Weekly they will not be commenting on the matters involving ‘Mother Goose’ until a future moment in time.

“We cannot comment in relation to this matter, as it is before the courts,” the spokesperson said.

The now-convicted paedophile is due back in court later this month with victims impact statements and other documents to be filed and heard. Mr Symonds is expected to be sentenced by the end of April.

Feature Image: Robert William Symonds leaving court in 2011 (The Advertiser)


About Serkan Ozturk 117 Articles
Serkan Ozturk is an investigative journalist and the publisher and editor of True Crime News Weekly. His journalism has previously been featured by the likes of RT News, Sydney Morning Herald and Crikey. He is a member of the MEAA.


  1. there was an sa criminal case in 1999, r v symonds, relating to sex offenses. it is unreported so im not sure of the details but just saw it cited in some other case material im studying. is there any connection to this guy?

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